Eavan Boland’s “Anorexic”: describe the poem’s form or structure. Consider stanzas, line length, rhyme, and meter.

1 Answer | Add Yours

kmcappello's profile pic

kmcappello | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

The form of Eavan Boland's poem "Anorexic" is suitable for its subject matter.  In the poem, a speaker describes the effect that anorexia has had on both her physical and emotional health.  The speaker is violent and angry towards her body, which she views as a betrayer.  She is also strangely spiritual about her growing thinness, which she equates with goodness, or in her words, "sinless, foodless."

The poem itself is long and thin on the page.  The longest line is only seven words, and most are no more than three.  In addition, almost all of the fifteen stanzas are only three lines long.  This causes the poem to stretch down the page and act as a visual representation of anorexia.

Through her manipulation of the poem's form, Boland has also lent it an incantatory quality suitable for both the spiritual side of the subject matter, as well as the act of witch-burning she uses as a metaphor for her body's betrayal.  There are many instances of alliteration, repetition, and rhyme (i.e. "starved and curveless...skin and bone," "How warm it was and wide//once by a warm drum," "Caged so/I will grow"), all of which are seen in both spells and prayer.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question